Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life
Do women face a unique relationship with power?
Do successful women pay a “popularity penalty”?
How do women unlock their personal power?
Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and an expert in empowering women. She is the founder of Women Connect4Good, Inc., and for seven years she has interviewed influential women for online podcasts available on her website. Her new book Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life is aimed at helping women maximize personal power and improve their self-esteem and business success.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with her about her research and findings about women’s leadership, influence, and power.
Now Is the Time
Despite some of the statistics you cite about income and other inequalities, you have a strong optimism about “now” as a wonderful time for women. Why the optimism?
I’ve been working for women empowerment all of my professional life. When I went back to college, and then during my doctoral research, very few people were talking about women empowerment. I felt very lonely.
Now, everywhere I look, people are talking about empowering women: self-help books, networking and mentoring groups, even the media. And why not? Women buy 85% of goods and services; it’s time for our voices to be heard. And as women are getting better at working together, I see a movement in which we claim our power and help one another create a better world.
“When we do things even though we are afraid, we grow.” -@DrNancyOReilly
“Successful women pay a popularity penalty.” Would you explain that a bit more? What should a successful woman do?
When a woman is successful, she risks denigration by her competitors, the media and other women and men. Studies show the more successful a woman is, the less “likeable” she is perceived to be. Look at a Hillary Clinton, when she was the most popular woman in the world and running for president, she had to deal with comments about her dress, her hair, how old she looked. It constantly undermined her credibility. Lois Phillips, one of my Leading Women co-authors, describes how women can build their credibility at the beginning of a speech, which men rarely have to do. Their credibility is assumed just because they are at the podium.
“One woman can change anything; many women can change everything.” –Christine Karumba